Great news for bio-based resins

Reposted from GreenChemicals Blog

Great news for bio-based resins !

Toyota Tsusho’s bio-PET in bottled water


The blog hopes that readers have been following our live tweets coming from #APIC13 (Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference). According to Mitsubishi Chemical, it is planning to expand capacity for its isosorbide polymer DURABIO from the current 5,000 tonnes/year to 16,000 tonnes/year by 2014.

Mitsubishi Chemical also noted that its biodegradable polymer polybutylene succinate (PBS) project under the PTT MCC Biochem joint venture is in progress and that their 20,000 tonnes/year bio-based PBS plant being built in Thailand is expected to be completed by the first half of 2015 (as opposed to the original plan to start by 2014).

Mitsubishi Chemical said its R&D for producing 100% PBS is in progress via its partnership with BioAmber, which supplies the biobased succinic acid, and Genomatica, which supplies the bio-based 1,4 butanediol (BDO).

Now back to our headline, Japan-based plastic producer Toyota Tsusho recently announced that it is expanding the use of its bio-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resins marketed under the brand GLOBIO in bottled mineral water packaging.

Toyota Tsusho said the bottled mineral water using its bio-PET will be marketed by Japan-based Suntory Beverage & Food Limited starting this month.

As like the other current bio-PET resins commercially used, the resin is made from sugarcane-based monoethylene glycol (MEG) and petroleum-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA). Greencol Taiwan, a joint venture between Toyota Tsusho and China Man-Made Fiber, produces the bio-MEG  using imported sugarcane-based ethanol at its 75,000 tonnes/year facility in Kaohsiung.

According to an ICIS news report (subscription), Greencol Taiwan currently maintains a 67% operating rate at the plant producing 7,000-7,500 tonnes/month of bio-MEG and 700-750 tonnes/month of bio-diethylene glycol. Greencol also processes the sugarcane ethanol at its new 100,000 tonnes/year bio-ethylene plant at the site, which the company started trial runs in May last year, according to ICIS.

Another interesting information on the article is that the bio-MEG products were said to have 30-50% premium over naphtha-based MEG prices. That’s pretty steep! Greencol Taiwan also reportedly produces 40,000-45,000 tonnes/year of bio-ethylene oxide.

According to Toyota Tshusho, the GLOBIO bio-PET brand is sold and produced in collaboration with Lotte Chemical, an affiliate of Korea-based Lotte Group. Lotte Chemical enabled Toyota Tshusho to secure a stable supply system for the bio-PET plastics.

Toyota Tsusho estimated global adoption of bio-PET to expand by more than 3m tons by 2015. The company estimated annual global demand for petroleum-based PET plastics currently at 60m tons.

In October last year, Toyota Tsusho signed a deal with US-based Clear Lam Packaging for the use of its GLOBIO bio-PET in sheet extrusions sold to consumer packaged goods companies and manufacturers of industrial goods. Toyota Tsusho’s parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation is also using bio-MEG in polyester textiles that are used in the interiors of its luxury vehicle Lexus.

Toyota Tsusho said it is also marketing biobased polyethylene (PE) plastics manufactured by Brazil-based Braskem.

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